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fat old gun nut
March 26, 2008, 06:58 PM
As a boy I hunted everything in season and truth be known some that weren't. I haven't hunted deer for 40 years. I have two rifles now one is used in cowboy shooting and is .45 Colt. The other is a Ruger mini in .223. I also have 2 12 gauge shotguns. Which of these could be used in hunting Florida whitetails(normally smallish deer)?:confused:

bclark1
March 26, 2008, 07:53 PM
.223 might be legal (not sure in FL) but I'd opt for something bigger. Cowboy gun would work. Either 12ga shotgun is probably your best option as 12ga has a lot more punch and will reach out beyond handgun cartridge ranges. Decent slug or sabot can keep you effective past 100 handily.

DaveInPA
March 26, 2008, 08:01 PM
I'd definitely go wit a 12 gauge slug, choosing from the weapons you have available to you.

Doyle
March 27, 2008, 08:06 AM
Don't handicap yourself with using the shotgun. Here in Florida, most deer are small. A really big buck will only go about 180 lbs. An average one will only be about 130 lbs. Your .223 will work just fine as long as you do two things. First is use a good bullet. Use the heaviest soft point expanding type bullet that your particular gun shoots well. If it stabilizes 60 grn then perfect. If not, back down to 55 grn bullets. Don't try to go with any of the ballistic tip bullets. In .223 you need a bullet that will mushroom nicely and stay intact.

Secondly, learn to place your shots. The .223 will do its job if you put the bullet squarely into the heart/lung area.

jlchucker
March 27, 2008, 08:16 AM
I bet your 45 colt rifle would work pretty good, over short distances with a flatnose cast bullet--kind of like what you probably already shoot a lot in your cowboy action hobby. You probably already shoot it pretty good as well.

bcarver
March 27, 2008, 08:22 AM
Yes you can kill deer with a .233.
Don't. It is marginal on hard shots and animals move. your risking wounding an animal having a lousy blood trail.
Use the shotgun with buckshot out to 60 yards or slugs to 100.

Art Eatman
March 27, 2008, 08:33 AM
It's a rare "good used" rifle that won't be plenty accurate out to normal Florida hunting distances. Since you're already into cowboy shooting, you might consider a used lever-action .30-30.

However, with full-power loads the .45 Colt you now have would probably work just fine. Just sitting here at a keyboard, I'd figure it to be adequate to 100 yards. :)

taylorce1
March 27, 2008, 08:47 AM
Welcome back to the fold, it is never too late to start or start again hunting.

I think you need to step up in firepower as well. I'm pretty sure you can get a .243 Win rifle new with scope for $500 or less if you look around. That would be plenty of power for any FL deer or pig you might want to hunt. It should be easier on your shoulder as well when compared to shooting a shotgun with slugs or buckshot.

Stevens, Marlin, and Mossberg all have new bolt action rifles starting under $300 most places. You can pick up a H&R/NEF or Rossi single shot for around $240 new as well. Buy some Weaver bases and rings for around $30 and buy a fixed 4 power or variable 3-9 power scope for around $100-150 you should have a functional hunting rifle for FL. Don't forget to look for used Marlin lever actions in .30-30 or .35 Rem you can usually pick up a shooter for less than $300 as well.

I don't know if FL has and restrictions on energy for rifles or not. Here in CO the .45 Colt doesn't produce enough energy at 100 yards to be legal. We need 1000 ft-lbs at 100 yards for a rifle to be legal along with a few other things.

fat old gun nut
March 27, 2008, 02:16 PM
I want to thank each and every one that posted suggestions. I'm going to a gun show and will keep your suggestions in mind. Maybe a customer will be selling something at a good price during this hunting off-season.

BIGR
March 27, 2008, 02:50 PM
Welcome back, we need all the hunters we can get. .223 will kill deer but theres not alot of room for error. 30-30 has killed truck loads of deer in the US. Doesn't take a fancy gun to put Bambi down. Check with the dealers in your area and go to a few gun shows. There are great deals out there on used guns during the off season.

MontanaRifleman
March 28, 2008, 12:52 AM
What's an old Cowboy doing in FLA with a 45 colt, Ruger 223 and two 12 guage shotguns?

lon371
March 30, 2008, 05:31 AM
You didnt say what kind of range you are likely to hunt. Here in Indiana, we are now allowed rifles in handgun cartridges. .45 colt is very popular. If you google for hunting loads. There are a bunch of folks getting into it(45). Until last year around here Shotguns were the status quoe. Since shotguns are so weak our buck population has declined. Now we are on the 1 buck per season. I believe is a good thing. I even have a pict of my younger daughter 10 point hanging nest to me, .410 slug 20 yards one shot. If you are like me, it is a good reason to purchace another gun. A nice 30-30 would be good.